In this study, RF-based un-doped and nitrogen-doped aerogels were produced by polymerisation reaction between resorcinol and formaldehyde with sodium carbonate as catalyst and melamine as the nitrogen source. Carbon/activated carbon aerogels were obtained by carbonisation of the gels under inert atmosphere (Ar) followed by activation of the carbons under CO2 at 800 °C. The BET analysis of the samples showed a more than two-fold increase in the specific Surf. area and pore volume of carbon from 537 to 1333 m2g−1 and 0.242 to 0.671 cm3g−1 respectively after nitrogen doping and activation. SEM and XRD analysis of the samples revealed highly porous amorphous nanostructures with denser inter-particle cross-linked pathways for the activated nitrogen-doped carbon. The X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) results confirmed the presence of nitrogen and oxygen heteroatoms on the Surf. and within the carbon matrix where improvement in wettability with the drop in the contact angle from 123° to 80° was witnessed after oxygen and nitrogen doping. A steady drop in the equivalent series (RS) and charge transfer (RCT) resistances was observed by electrochemical measurements after the introduction of nitrogen and oxygen heteroatoms. The highest specific capacitance of 289 Fg−1 with the lowest values of 0.11 Ω and 0.02 Ω for RS and RCT was achieved for nitrogen and oxygen dual-doped activated carbon in line with its improved Surf. chemistry and wettability, and its enhanced conductivity due to denser inter-particle cross-linked pathways.
- electrochemical energy storage
- aqueous supercapacitor
- functionalised nanomaterials
- nitrogen and oxygen co-doping
- capacitive performance